Hiring Manager

Sourcing First For Culture Makes For A Productive Environment

As one of the keypoints or "Must-Haves" of a search, @PeopleOps we recognize that aligning candidates with companies based on a solid culture fit is important. While working with hiring managers across a variety of industries, we always make the extra effort to source candidates that directly relate to the hiring company's culture. It's part of our process. We really get to know our customers companies and apply that knowledge of their culture to our sourcing. It's no different for our own internal needs.

Here at PeopleOps, we value the hard work and production that our interns show us everyday. In hopes of returning the favor, and in light of great timing, we took an office Friday field trip to see “The Internship” recently. As an office, we grabbed some lunch together, and then saw the film.
 

 

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We recognize the importance of company DNA and look for certain “culture fits” when go through our hiring process. We want to work with people who we truly enjoy being around while also "getting it", because lets face it, we spend more time in the office than we do at home. Our senior staff is comprised of talented individuals who get along like friends, while also being great coworkers, and we hope to immerse our interns into that mindset as well. At the end of their internship, they may be offered a position to work with the big boys, so to speak, so instilling our company DNA soon is the best way to go, and what better way than to mock the idea of a coffee getting, copy making, down right horrible, internship? 
 
 

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The world of Community Management is changing.....at least ours is.

The title Community Manager didn't even exist 5 years ago, well it did but in a totally different industry.  Anyway, the world of online, digital, or "inbound" marketing is evolving everyday, every hour, and even sometimes within minutes.  One of the ways we try to keep up with the trends is by having the best people working on the things they enjoy the most.  In this case we're speaking of Community Managers.  Not just social media managers, but true authentic "Community" Managers.  It's a true DNA match for a PeopleOps Community Manager to be architecting and maintaining talent communities.  Here's a graphic describing the difference. 
 

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Your Customer Service and Public Relations Department’s ‘Trojan Horse’

 Prasanth is an out of work Product Manager.  He has a Computer Science degree from a state school that is not a top 20.  Even though he got a 4.0 GPA while working full time at a local tech company, he is still discounted among the elite companies in the space.  He has tried his hand at startups and found that he is more of a big company guy. The only problem is big companies don’t want to hire him. It’s a combination of being out of work for such a long time, his degree not high leveled enough, and found to be a little bit OCD.  
 

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       He finally scores an interview with a top 10 tech company.  He arrives for his three part interview, only to be asked to leave after the first part.  Feeling jaded, he stops by his local Starbucks and starts tweeting while sipping his coffee to hopefully cheer himself up. Who is he tweeting to?  He is tweeting to his friends inside the company that just booted him out. He is tweeting to other colleagues holding an offer letter between that company and a hot new startup.  He is tweeting to his professors, who take it personally that the company does not think his curriculum is up to speed, resulting in educating his students to not waste their time interning at this company.  He is also tweeting to his blogger friends, involved in writing an interesting section on how companies treat  employees, future candidates, and people in general.  

     It sounds like he tweeted hundreds, and in effect, tens of thousands of people.  While this is true, the main concept to recognize is that it took only one single tweet to reach this audience.  When we live in a society where the most obscure dude living in his mom’s basement can create a social media nightmare for a company, imagine what an educated and networked candidate can do!

     Recruiting departments are the un-checked customer service juggernaut.  Too often they are guilty of dismissing candidates with poorly written and non-human form letters during the interview process, or even 10 minutes after the first initiated call.  Staffing firms are not resourced enough to handle that kind of scale; in 2012 and beyond they will have to be for greater success.

    Let’s make a test case for one single search.  Your company hiring manager needs a new Software Engineer.  So you post online, internally, and have your internal recruiting team start working on it.  After a few weeks, the hiring manager is still not finding that perfect candidate.  So the recruiting team sends it out to a couple of search firms.  Within a couple days, solid candidates are put into process, and the interview process begins.  About a dozen candidates are phone screened, and as the process shrinks to the field, to three candidates that are brought onsite.  One candidate is made an offer while the other two are kept in the dark until the recruiter knows the choice candidate accepts for sure, then the other 2 are released by getting sent a form letter.

   To hire one new candidate, your company had to tell approximately 100 candidates ‘No’.  Considering we are living in the first wave of gold spray painted plastic trophy toasting, super hero, rock star generation, my educated guess is you now have 100 customers that will likely not shop with you again.

    Luckily, most people will not accept this denial and keep trying two or three other attempts, in vain, to get hired at your company.

   I am not suggesting you hire them all.  I am suggesting you treat them throughout the process like a real human that you will have to speak to the next day ,or better yet, want to sell something too the next day.  Treat them as if it was your mother being referred to the company.  Coddle?  Yes man, I am saying to coddle! 

Leveraging Time for Talent Acquisition from a Leadership Perspective

Too often as hiring managers, we are constantly conflicted between what kinds of candidates we want to hire and what we can afford to hire in our budgets. Many times we try to make staffing or our agencies force candidates into this role that really should be paid more.
 

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   The backlash from this is we set up our new hires to be short term from the beginning. If you undervalue a candidate in the hire, they will promptly begin their search for their next gig.  

     This section however is not about hiring candidates for the long term, although perhaps it should be.  Rather, it's about how to leverage your time to get the best candidates available for your role in the least amount of time. 

     One thing you should consider is to employ the 20:5:2:1 ratio.  First carefully identify your five “Musts” for you role.  What do you REALLY need this role to do for you?  What background should the candidate come from?  Which group of competitors?  Is education important? Etc.  

     Once your role is clearly defined into 5-10 “Musts”, then hand this search to three people and only three people.  Your best performing team member that reports to you, your recruiter or sourcer, and to your assistant (who will help you reach out to your own network).  Between the three parties a total of 20 candidates should enter the process within 10 business days.  

      Interview all 20. Why? Well, as leadership, we have to understand that every candidate is a customer first.  If someone who was not looking for a new job was approached by your staff or by your recruiter to end up not even getting a call back, there will be a mental tarnish for your company, for at least the rest of that candidates career.  Now, if that candidate tweets or Facebooks about their experience then your in real trouble.  When we live in a society where the most obscure guy living in his mom’s basement in Iowa can cause complete brand disruption for any given company image, think of what a candidate with a legitimate and on context social graph could do.  Truth is, it's the right thing to do. Also, consider this: Most people are really bad at writing resumes. Getting to know someone face to face, even for a 15 minute coffee chat will give you far better context then a resume or a Linkedin profile.

   Select the top 5.  Interview them a second time and have your key team member interview them as well for cultural fit.  This is when you should start getting into the nuts and bolts of the project, gaging genuine personalities, aptitude, and overall potential continuity.  

    Cut it down to top 2.  Now it's time for dinner, golf, sporting event, something.  Depending on the level of the search you may want to opt for something higher end but at the very least, buy the candidate a coffee outside of the office.  Here you should pre-close, make sure compensation is in line and get your pre-on boarding questions out of the way so there are no surprises.  Now pull the trigger!  The greatest risk is doing nothing.  

This entire process should take less then 30 days and require a total of 10.5 hours of your attention.  Consider the impact of this hire or even better, the impact of what another search a few months from now would take... 

 

Understanding the Context of the Candidate

   Why there is such a disconnect in understanding that the consumers ARE the candidates.  If you want to know the best way to reach candidates, look at what the best consumer companies are doing.  

   Take for instance, Apple.  They are among the top brands in cult-like following and Apple is the king of subtle disruptions.  This past March (2011), I was at South By Southwest (SXSW) when Apple was launching the iPad2.  SXSW brings together some of the most forward thinking social media and tech companies. They discuss cutting edge and even sometimes barely existing technologies.  Apple did not have a booth or a logo at SXSW.  What they DID have is a pop up store in downtown Austin ,about 4 blocks away from SXSW.  So, the day the iPad2 launched, guess where a ton of people were? You got it! They were not in breakout sessions that they or their companies paid hundreds, if not thousands of dollars for them to be at.  Rather, they were standing in line, a hundred people deep, tweeting away about the iPad2.  Apple won SXSW without even being there.  
 

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  Alright, so what is the connection to this anecdote and the consumer and candidate?  Priority.  Keep in mind, the people waiting in line at the pop up mac store were not just run of the mill consumers. These were the normally passive candidates within the social media space that recruiters fight over on Linkedin and other online platforms.  So why were they in line?  Because they wanted an iPad2.  Apple knew there ultra-targeted customers would likely be at SXSW so they made it easy for them to get there hands on one.  Consumers crave authenticity, relevance, solid actual results, and low barrier’s of entry.  That same consumer is also your next great hire.  

How do you create a recruiting context that matches this culture? 

  1. Be Authentic:  Kill the corporate vomit that is on the job requirements.  Write what you would want to read.  Why your company is cool, why you have good people, what you are really looking for, and why YOU think they should be interested.  Couple that with a quick YouTube interview with the hiring manager talking about the requirement... unedited.  
  2. Is it a Good Job:  If you are trying to pitch a mediocre job then go back and make it not mediocre.  You do not have to pay top of market to win the day but if you want the guy at your competitors, you need to ask yourself why would someone leave to come to you.  If your answer is, because my company is better, then you have lost.  It HAS to be because my job is better, and if it's not, you need to make it better.
  3. Lower the Barriers of Entry: Does your Applicant Tracking System suck?  The answer is most likely yes.  I understand that due to compliance laws, we have to have some forms of applications.  However, you should make the application process, at least on the front end, something they can do with a simple email or maybe logging in to use their Linkedin resume-like profile.  Oh and while I am at it, please start taking LI profiles as resumes, its good enough! 

5 Must-Have Characteristics of a Recruiting/Sourcing Vendor

Sourcing and recruiting for businesses are critical, hard to find skill sets that takes time. It also takes a lot of domain knowledge. It can be hard for businesses to find the necessary time or internal resources to learn and/or implement winning passive sourcing efforts and authentic social media messaging (to name a couple) for themselves. In these cases, businesses can reach out to a third-party agency to manage their candidate development efforts. Consider these 5 must-have characteristics when evaluating an agency partnership.

1. The Right Services

Saying "agency" is really a disservice to the Talent Acquisition industry.  The question is what is your need?  Do you need to hire lots and lots of standard qualification employees? Then a U.S. based RPO might be right for you.  Do you have one critical hire you need to make but have a super strict budget? Then a contingency agency could be the right call.  Maybe you have a fairly consistent need for a tier 1 candidate pipeline for a specific business group that complains a lot? That could be when you tap the services of a tactical sourcing team like PeopleOps.

2. A Clear Process

Project results on whitepapers and company case studies are great, but the real value of an agency's involvement will be in how they put, not only how they fill the business critical roles, but the additional added value of how they work with the hiring authorities.  Recruiting or Sourcing agencies should be able to clearly lay out and explain the candidate development methodology for prospective clients. Being able to clearly show you the order in which things need to happen and the amount of time and resources required at each step. This will indicate that the agency has delivered ROI to clients before. Thus, you will also be able to infer that it has the game plan to do it again for your company.

3. An Emphasis on Measurement

Words like "metrics", "benchmarks" and "analytics" should be peppered throughout your prospective agency's pitch. Progress made toward your goals should to be measured at every step of the way, and a recruiting agency worth its weight will be able to track all campaigns, direct sourcing efforts, candidate flow and report on performance regularly. You have goals. You are trying to meet those goals by hiring the agency. Therefore, it should be as focused as you are, charting success in an undeniable, data-driven way. 

4. Strong Project Management Skills

Recruiting is fueled by the creation of remarkable content aimed at your ideal candidates, compelling direct sourcing initiatives, and authentic messaging. In order to be successful, good recruiting/sourcing agencies will need to get inside your hiring managers head to build that content and learn about that dream candidate. Do the agencies you're considering have the process and communication skills to make you think they will make reasonable and realistic requests of your hiring authorities? Also, have they set clear expectations around what each step in the candidate development and attraction process will require in terms of time and resources? Do you get the impression that they can manage campaigns with lots of moving parts? A good agency will make your life easier; not the opposite.

5. An Online Presence Optimized for Top Talent

Does the agency you're considering blog regularly? What is its own internal recruiting initiatives like? Are there optimized landing pages and premium content offers throughout its site? An effective recruiting or sourcing agency should be its own best case study. Think twice about engaging with a recruiting firm that doesn't make the services it sells a priority for its own business.

 

4 ways to use Twitter to find great candidates

73% of Staffing Leadership believe using consumer focused social media tools like Twitter or Facebook has little effect on increasing their organizations' top line candidates or filling positions with adequate talent. Only you can change this misconception. Using social media to bring in great talent isn't a cost center, it's a catalyst for growth.
 

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Here are 4 easy ways you can use Twitter to start getting better candidates:

  1. Listen:  From my perspective Twitter is often miss conceived as a content distribution tool.  In my opinion it is far more useful as a listening tool.  Your recruiters or sourcers can set up live searches around specific search terms, like "ios developer" OR "flight dynamics" or "objective-c".  The more specific you can get the less 'noise' you will have to filter through.  Using free tools like Tweetdeck, you can quickly set up numerous searches that will alow you to engage with people talking about your specific topics...odds are these people are candidates.
  2. Be Authentic: If you are looking for Computer Science engineers, Accountants, Management Consultants, or whatever it may be... do not populate your tweets with endless news feeds and other spammy garbage.  Interview your hiring managers, engage in industry blogs, and tweet relevant information about your open role, about the department it reports to, about the people in the department, etc.  The more authentic you can be, the better the chance of you landing the passive candidate that sees you but has yet to respond.
  3. Leverage the hashtag #:  If you want to take a little more of an aggressive approach, you can used paid Twitter tools like TweetAdder3 that can search all profiles associated with a hashtag.  Why is that imporatant?  Most confrences use hashtags to organize so if you want to find alot of social media enthusiasts you could use #sxsw for South By Southwest...or any other conference.  Great way to troll for solid candidates. 
  4. Respond to everyone:  Everytime someone follows you, everytime someone Re-Tweets something you said, any activity at all ... make sure you engage.  Even if its just to say thank you, engaging with your fledging community will make those new found connections strengthen.  Keep in mind, your search may end, but that community you are building (if done right!) will remain to help you when you need it again. 

Best in Breed; Not Necessarily Best Available

In today’s market, with unemployment rates nearly doubled in the last twelve months and the number of potential candidates for job openings steadily rising, it has become extremely difficult for hiring managers and recruiters to find the best potential employee. While sources such as mainstream job boards provide a hiring manager a large applicant pool to fill potential job openings, there is a wealth of vastly more targeted candidates who are often missed. There are a number of other sources to find the true “Best in Breed” candidates. Sources such as LinkedIn, Jigsaw, Spoke, as well as a wealth of individualized professional sites and forums give a trained sourcer a huge source of potential candidates to tap into. At PeopleOps, we have found especially for difficult areas such as for specialized law firms, computer science based engineering, etc… finding on-the-money candidates is the only way to provide true value. With these top quality candidates, We are able to present to our hiring authority a clear picture of the best applicants available. Having worked closely with hiring authorities, we know the time constraints placed on them. Hiring authorities are often busy with pressing job requirements and just simply do not have the time to “cut through the noise” and find the best-qualified candidate.